The Philosophy of Epicurus

Epicurean Welcome

Inscription on the entrance of the Epicurean Garden

“Stranger, here you will do well to tarry; here our highest good is pleasure.”

Author's Welcome note

Dear reader,

It is with a joyful heart and deep sense of responsibility that I offer the learnings in this book. I propose that you can live a pleasant life if you so choose. Furthermore, I submit to you that the insights of Epicurus are neither less relevant today than they were twenty-three centuries ago, nor are they more suitable to young than old. As the philosopher himself reminds us, it is “neither too early nor too late, when it comes to ensuring the health of soul.

Preface to the Second Edition

Five years since the first publication of the book and fifteen years since my first encounter with the Epicurean philosophy, I feel that the circumstances are ripe now to go through the second edition. There are several reasons that nourish my desire to improve the quality of the first edition: my accumulated personal experience from the application of the philosophy in everyday life; my continuous research on the Epicurean philosophy over the years; and the feedback I received from an ample number of reviewers of the first edition. 

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“Stranger, here you will do well to tarry; here our highest good is pleasure.”

Inscription at the entrance of the Epicurean Garden

If we were to describe the Epicurean philosophy in a single word, it would be “pleasure.” And if we were to sum it up in a sentence, it would be this excerpt from the letter of Epicurus to Menoeceus: “Pleasure is the beginning and the end of the happy life.” With this simple statement, Epicurus establishes the emotion of pleasure as both the means and the purpose of life, in contrast to all other philosophies that introduce rational means and ends such as achievement, success, wealth, status, morality, social justice, and so on.

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